Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 11/30/11
By MICHAEL MARTINEZSpecial to FOXSportsDetroit.com DETROIT -- Detroit Mercys season hasnt started quite how sophomore point guard Ray McCallum expected. If you asked me a month ago if this is where I thought wed be, Id have said no, he said. But it just shows you that when you have high expectations teams are going to give you their best game. Thats something weve learned the past four games. Those four games have resulted in three UDM losses, dropping the Titans to 3-4. With Horizon League play starting this week, McCallum knows if Detroit is to live up to its high expectations, it needs to start playing better now. We have seven games under our belt, so its time for us to start getting rid of the kinks, he said. I think thats going to happen this week. In order to do that, McCallums own play must improve. The second-year floor general has turned the ball over 18 times the past four games while recording just eight assists. He has only one more assist (22) than turnover (21) the entire year. In addition, hes led the Titans in scoring just once this seasona 20-point performance against Notre Dame. Thats troubling for a player picked to be the best in the Horizon League because, so far, hes failed to even be the best on his own short-handed team. The whole turnovers thing is just something I have to clean up, he said. Thats just not me. Im a smarter player than that. Its on my shoulders to not turn the ball over and give us more chances to score. In order to assure that happens, McCallum said hes been staying in the gym longer and watching a lot of film with the coaching staff. Hes seen what hes doing wrong, he said. I havent been bringing the energy and intensity I need to bring to help my team win games, he said. Itd be reasonable to assume McCallums feeling fatigued. His first full college season last year was followed by a non-stop summer of basketball camps and games with the U.S. world university team. Now, hes playing more minutes than usual because UDM has just eight available players after injuries, ineligibility and leaves of absence decimated the roster. He said he doesnt feel tired, though. I dont think its fatigue, he said. I feel like Im in good shape and my team is in good shape. I just think we have to just stay focused and stay together. We just have to play with confidence and I think everything will be fine. The Titans first conference foesYoungstown State Thursday and Cleveland State Saturdayhave relied on guard play to score points. Thats good news for a Detroit team that, for the time being, has just one big man to defend the paint in LaMarcus Lowe. Still, McCallum said UDMs guards will have to step up defensively to ensure success. The guards kind of control the game because they have the ball in their hand, he said. We have to help (Lowe) by keeping our guys in front so they cant get to the hole and cause him to foul or get out of position. McCallum said his team is ready to do just that. Especially when you come off a loss, you really want to come out and play with a lot of energy and emotion, he said. Its not fun to lose and we know what were capable of. The time is now.
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